Bishop Lynch President Edward Leyden just celebrated 25 years at the neighborhood Catholic High School, and he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Since he started in 1982, he has seen the student body and the campus blossom and grow, and he has gained a special spot in the hearts of many families throughout the 22 zip codes the school serves.
How did you celebrate your 25th anniversary at Bishop Lynch?
My sons [Jason, 37; Eamon, 30; Greg, 29] set up a scholarship fund in my name. It was for Christmas but in honor of the anniversary and, combined with money raised at the annual auction [in April], and other donations people have given, there’s $40,000 in the fund. The scholarship will go toward tuition for Bishop Lynch students who can’t afford to pay because of extenuating circumstances — parent’s unemployment, illness, divorce or similar unexpected events.
You must be proud of your sons for coming up with that idea.
Yes, my wife must have raised them right! She actually didn’t even know they were doing it.
Tell us a little bit about your background. What led you to this position?
I went to Catholic school all my life — in Burbank, Calif., where I grew up. Then I went and got my bachelor’s at St. Edwards University. I went on to Barry University in Miami. Since ’64, I’ve been working in Catholic high schools. When I was with a small school in Wichita Falls, I visited Bishop Lynch a couple times and was really impressed. I thought to myself, I’d really like to apply there. Maybe someday they’ll have an opening. In 1982, I became principal of the school, and in 1998, the presidency was created.
What makes Bishop Lynch special?
There’s such a diverse student body — students from 41 different municipalities attend school here. We’ve been very successful in teaching diversely, yet in a rigorous academic setting. Ninety-nine percent of the students who graduate from Bishop Lynch go to college.
In your 25 years, is there anything that stands out that you are particularly proud of?
Well, I am very proud of the growth we’ve seen during that period. In 1982 we had 620 students. Today we have 1,044, and we will increase a little bit more by next year. We’ve remodeled, built a new theater, atrium and chapel wing, remodeled the cafeteria and offices — we’ve put a lot into improving the facilities. I’m just guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of $16 million. That’s just off the top of my head.
If there’s a particular area of academics or extra-curricular activities Bishop Lynch is known for, what would it be?
I think most people in the community, when they think of Bishop Lynch, they think of the fine arts, especially the performing arts.
Yes, I saw the musical, Footloose, which was great. I also noticed a student gallery near the theater.
Yes, we are also big on the visual arts. We always have student art displayed in the atrium. The art teachers make sure there’s a place for the students’ work to be showcased.
What about the future? Do you planning on hanging around for a while?
Oh yeah, I’m not going anywhere — it’s just getting fun now. Just kidding — really, I have the best job in the world. I can’t think of more than a few days in the last 25 years that I didn’t look forward to coming to work. I’m just so pleased we have such a wonderful community of people supporting me and supporting this school.
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